East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry
This article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
The East Coast–West Coast hip hop rivalry was a feud between artists and fans of the East Coast hip hop and West Coast hip hop scenes in the United States, especially from 1994 to 1997. Focal points of the feud were East Coast–based rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (and his New York–based label, Bad Boy Records), and West Coast–based rapper Tupac Shakur (and his Los Angeles–based label, Death Row Records), who were both murdered in drive-by shootings. Orlando Anderson (a.k.a. Baby Lane) is believed to be the person responsible for the murder of Shakur. The person responsible for the murder of Biggie Smalls (The Notorious B.I.G.) remains unknown.
Origins of hip hop
Hip hop emerged in the 1970s on the streets of South Bronx . Hip Hop was powered by DJs such as Kool Herc, who many consider its founding father, Grandmaster Flash, and Afrika Bambaataa. The new genre became popular throughout the city's neighborhoods. MCs, Graffiti, and Hip Hop were huge cultural influences at this time. The New York City area remained the forefront for rap music throughout the mid-'80s, becoming home to numerous stars such as Run-DMC, A Tribe Called Quest, LL Cool J, KRS-One, Doug E. Fresh, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Slick Rick, The Beastie Boys, Salt-n-Pepa, and others. In the early 1990s hip hop functioned to give the black community a voice in the public sphere, and had spread from New York to across the country in the East Coast as well as worldwide. Hip hop gained appeal among African-Americans because of the "authentic" nature of the lyrical content. It transitioned into gangsta rap in the 1990s, which involved rapping about drugs, violence, and sexualizing women.
Emergence of the West Coast
In 1986, Crenshaw–based Ice T released the song "6 in the Mornin'." It is considered by many critics as the very first gangsta rap song. The LA gangsta rap scene exploded afterwards. This rap style basically represented the life of gangsters day to day.
With the help of friend Jerry Heller, Eazy-E founded Ruthless Records on March 3, 1986. Shortly afterwards, his group N.W.A released the Panic Zone EP. It contained the title track (Arabian Prince), "8 Ball" (Eazy-E), and the well-known "Dope Man" (Ice Cube).
The group's debut album was released later in the year. It featured the Fila Fresh Crew and a young The D.O.C. The most popular song on the release was the famous track "Boyz-n-the-Hood". Although the track was written by Ice Cube, Eazy-E handled the vocals. Eazy E began as a solo artist but then joined the group.
A disagreement over money saw Arabian Prince leave N.W.A just before the release of their ground-breaking Straight Outta Compton. Eazy-E's friend MC Ren filled his place. Backed by hit singles such as "Straight Outta Compton (song)", "Fuck tha Police" and "Gangsta Gangsta", the album redefined the genre and cemented the West Coast's presence in the nation's rap scene.
Financial issues led to the break up of the group. Eazy-E remained the wealthy owner/manager of his Ruthless label. Ice Cube released a string of successful albums that included AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted and Death Certificate. Dr Dre would go on to co-own Death Row Records with Suge Knight.
At Death Row, Dr Dre released one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time in The Chronic. It revolutionized the G-Funk movement. Other successful stars on the label included Snoop Doggy Dogg, Tupac Shakur, Warren G, The Lady of Rage, Nate Dogg, Daz Dillinger, and Kurupt of Tha Dogg Pound. By the mid 1990s the West Coast had separated itself as the dominant region in hip hop.
Revival of the East
New York group The Wu-Tang Clan's 1993 debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) led to a revival of public interest in East Coast hip-hop, due in part to its lo-fi sound quality and its technical and wordy lyricism. Later in April 1994, 20-year-old Queens-based MC Nas released Illmatic, five of whose ten tracks were released as singles and which received a coveted five-mic rating from The Source. The release of these two albums was vital to renewing interest in East Coast hip-hop, facilitating the so-called East Coast Renaissance.
A few months later, the then 22-year-old Notorious B.I.G. released Ready to Die, which was certified gold within two months of release and helped to establish Bad Boy Records as notable. On June 25, 1996, Brooklyn native Jay-Z released his debut album Reasonable Doubt, drawing further attention to the East Coast.
In 1991, angry at record companies' rejections of East Coast artists and the growing popularity of West Coast hip hop, Bronx rapper Tim Dog decided to voice his anger on the notorious diss track "Fuck Compton". It contained shots at the entire LA rap scene, particularly the members of NWA. The music video featured violent threats aimed at Eazy-E, Dr Dre and Michel'le look-a-likes, as well as DJ Quik and Ice Cube.
There were several responses from numerous West Coast artists, including the "Fuck wit Dre Day (And Everybody's Celebratin')" which featured Snoop Doggy Dogg dissing Tim Dog (as well as Eazy E and others), and a separate skit, "$20 Sack Pyramid". Both featured on Dr Dre's The Chronic album. Compton's Most Wanted responded with "Who's Fucking Who?"
Bad Boy vs. Death Row
In 1993, fledgling A&R executive and record producer Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs founded the New York-centered hip-hop label, Bad Boy Records. The next year, the label's debut releases by Brooklyn-based rapper The Notorious B.I.G. (also known as Biggie Smalls; born Christopher Wallace) and Long Island–based rapper Craig Mack became immediate critical and commercial successes, and seemed to revitalize the East Coast hip-hop scene by 1995. New York born and California-based rapper Tupac Shakur publicly accused The Notorious B.I.G., Andre Harrell, and Sean Combs of involvement in his shooting (and robbery) in the lobby of Quad Recording Studios in Manhattan on November 30, 1994. Shortly after the shooting, "Who Shot Ya?," a B-side track from Biggie's "Big Poppa" single was released. Although Combs and Wallace denied having anything to do with the shooting and stated that "Who Shot Ya?" had been recorded before the shooting, 2Pac and the majority of the hip hop community interpreted it as B.I.G.'s way of taunting him.
In August 1995, Death Row CEO Suge Knight took a dig at Bad Boy and Combs at that year's Source Awards; announcing to the assembly of artists and industry figures: "Any artist out there that want to be an artist and stay a star, and don't have to worry about the executive producer trying to be all in the videos ... All on the records ... dancing, come to Death Row!"
It was a direct reference to Combs' tendency of ad-libbing on his artists' songs and dancing in their videos. With the ceremony being held in New York, to the audience, Knight's comments seemed a slight to the entire East Coast hip-hop scene, and resulted in boos from the crowd.
Problems continued when Knight later attended a party for producer Jermaine Dupri in Atlanta. During the bash, a close friend of Knight's (Jake Robles) was fatally shot. Knight accused Combs (also in attendance) of having something to do with the shooting. The same year, Knight posted the $1.4 million bail of the then-incarcerated 2Pac, in exchange for his signing with Death Row Records. Shortly after the rapper's release for five counts of sexual abuse in October 1995, he proceeded to join Knight in furthering Death Row's feud with Bad Boy Records.
Tha Dogg Pound's single "New York, New York", supported by a music video featuring a gigantic Snoop Dogg destroying various NYC buildings, was interpreted as a direct insult towards New York and the East Coast. Tha Dogg Pound was allegedly even shot at while making the video in New York City.
2Pac vs. The Notorious B.I.G.
- The Notorious B.I.G.
After the release of "Who Shot Ya?", which Shakur interpreted as a diss song mocking his robbery/shooting, 2Pac appeared on numerous tracks aiming threatening or antagonistic insults at Biggie, Bad Boy as a label, and anyone affiliated with them from late 1995 to 1996. Examples include the songs "Against All Odds", "Bomb First (My Second Reply)" and "Hit 'Em Up". During this time the media became heavily involved and dubbed the rivalry a coastal rap war, reporting on it continually. This caused fans from both scenes to take sides.
Although an official retaliation record was never released by the Brooklyn MC in response to Shakur's slurs, a certain number of Biggie's lyrics were interpreted by listeners as subliminal shots aimed at Shakur, in particular the track "Long Kiss Goodnight", which Lil' Cease claimed was about 2Pac in an XXL interview. Puffy, however, steadfastly denied this theory, affirming that if Biggie were to diss 2Pac, he would have called him out by name.
On September 7, 1996, Tupac Shakur was shot in a drive-by shooting at the intersection of Flamingo Road and Koval Lane in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was taken to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where he died six days later. In 2002, Chuck Phillips wrote the article "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?" reporting that, "the shooting was carried out by a Compton gang called the Southside Crips to avenge the beating of one of its members by Shakur a few hours earlier ... Orlando Anderson, the Crip whom Shakur had attacked, fired the fatal shots. Las Vegas police discounted Anderson as a suspect and interviewed him only once, briefly. He was later killed in an "unrelated gang shooting" nearly 2 years later on May 29, 1998. The Phillips article and its follow-up, "How Vegas Police Probe Floundered in Tupac Shakur Case" also implicated East Coast rappers including Biggie Smalls.
Hip-Hop Peace Summits
On September 22, 1996, a peace summit was convened at Mosque Maryam by Louis Farrakhan in the wake of the murder of Tupac Shakur, and another after the shooting of Biggie Smalls. Minister Farrakhan continues these summits, which have been held since the 1980s, where he calls for peace.
- It Was Written, a 1996 album by East Coast rapper, Nas, that was produced by West Coast producer Dr. Dre during the period of the rivalry.
- Iton, Richard (2008). In Search of the Black Fantastic. Oxford University Press.
- Stoffers, Carl. "Blacklives Have Mattered to Hip Hop for Decades". nydailynews.com. NY Daily News. Retrieved December 15, 2015.
- "Eazy-E", Wikipedia, 2018-09-12, retrieved 2018-09-13
- "Hip hop", Wikipedia, 2018-09-10, retrieved 2018-09-13
- "Gangsta rap", Wikipedia, 2018-09-03, retrieved 2018-09-13
- "Interview with Mark Pitts". HitQuarters. April 26, 2006. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- "Alumni Bulletin - Alumni - Harvard Business School". Alumni.hbs.edu. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- "Slain rapper Notorious B.I.G. was 'ready to die'". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. March 10, 1997.
- "Why the West is Winning: Milwaukee players talk about the rap wars between the coasts". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. May 10, 1995. Retrieved November 14, 2011.
- [dead link]
- "Hollywood or bust-up". The Observer. July 7, 1996.
- "The Homeboy as Mogul, And the Mogul as Rapper". NY Times. July 20, 1997. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- "A History of Modern Music: Part three: Hip-hop and R&B: 35. The death of Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls, 1996 – 1997". The Guardian. June 13, 2011.
- "Ex-LAPD detective: 'Suge Knight and P Diddy were behind hits on Biggie and Tupac'". NME. October 4, 2011. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- "Big Life: The rise and fall of Biggie Smalls". The Guardian. January 31, 2009.
- "Gangsta rap: East Coast vs West Coast". New Straits Times. May 21, 1997. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- "Requiem for a Gangsta". Newsweek. March 24, 1997. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- "A Source Of Trouble Shots, suits & shaky circulation threaten to rip apart hip-hop mag". New York Daily News. August 3, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- "The Turbulent Life and Times Of a Rap Mogul". The Washington Post. June 17, 2007. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- "The Rap Column: Notorious Wins B.I.G., Minor Regional Fracas Among Highlights Of Awards". Billboard. August 26, 1995. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
- Gamble, Ronnie (August 25, 2010). "Dangerous Crew's Shorty B Preps Book About His Life In The Music Biz". Baller Status. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "MTV party shooting revives rap wars". The Times. August 29, 2005. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- "Police probe Puff Daddy on Atlanta killing". The Sunday Times. January 28, 2001.
- "Tupac Shakur out on $ 1.4-million bail". St. Petersburg Times. October 14, 1995.
- "Notorious B.I.G. Lyrics- "Who Shot Ya"". AZ Lyrics.
- "L.a. times links diddy to 1994 shooting of tupac". The Boom Box. March 17, 2008. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- "Man Says He Shot Tupac at Quad Studio". The Root. June 16, 2011. Archived from the original on September 15, 2011. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- "Biggie Smalls was murdered 12 years ago. Now Jamal Woolard's portrayal of the rapper in Notorious is bringing pain among the plaudits, such is his uncanny likeness to him". The Scotsman. January 13, 2009. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- "THE RAP WARS / EAST COAST VS. WEST COAST". Newsday. September 23, 1996.
- "Gangsta Life And Death; For Tupac Shakur, Violence Was Part of the Act". The Washington Post. September 16, 1996. Retrieved December 17, 2013.
- "8 Subliminal Diss Records That No One Claims". XXL. November 5, 2010. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
- Planas, Antonio Planas (2011-04-07). "FBI outlines parallels in Notorious B.I.G., Tupac slayings". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
- PHILIPS, CHUCK (2002-09-06). "Who Killed Tupac Shakur?". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
- "How Vegas police probe floundered in Tupac Shakur case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2016-05-01.
- Coleman, Chrisena (1996-09-18). "Rappers In Peace Summit". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- Loose, Cindy (1970-01-01). "Farrakhan To Sponsor Anti-Violence Rap Concert In D.C." The Washington Post. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- Muwakkil, Salim (2003-12-15). "Farrakhan and the Beefs of Rap". In These Times. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- "Farrakhan to Speak to 900 Gang Leaders to 'Stop the Killing' - latimes". Articles.latimes.com. 2010-02-25. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 11, 2016. Retrieved 2016-06-28.
- Muhammad, Jehron (2015-09-17). "Jehron Muhammad: Islam's influence on hip-hop". Philly.com. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- "Farrakhan Preaches Responsibility At Hip-Hop Summit". Billboard. 2002-02-18. Retrieved 2016-09-28.
- "All about West Coast Rap". by Shmuga.